What is a belief? It is basically a mental conviction of what one believes to be true. It essentially makes up who you are as it affects your whole life and the decisions you make. This thus forms your belief system. Your belief system is what you live by and tends to be habitual and unwavering. You weren’t born with beliefs. Your beliefs were shaped by you from inputs throughout your life through teachings of others, society, and personal experiences.
The vaccine issue is often centered on a belief system. For instance, an individual who chooses to vaccinate may believe they are safe, believe they are important to health, believe that vaccines are responsible for the decline or elimination of disease, or believe anything their doctors tell them in relation to vaccines. Another example is an individual that believes vaccines aren’t safe, harms health, or do not believe doctors know best. In both examples, their belief systems can outweigh science regardless of what science shows. A belief system becomes more important than facts. An individual or the science itself can provide all the facts, but an individual’s belief system will triumph over facts.
We all have a need for certainty. Certainty keeps us comfortable. It makes us feel in control and safe, able to understand things, and make our predictions about the world. The need for certainty and a belief system go hand in hand. If a belief system is serving you well, you won’t abandon it on facts. When individuals discuss the vaccine issue, to vaccinate or not to vaccinate, for example; no matter what medical literature is cited, it may allow an acknowledgement, but their choice and decision to vaccinate or to not vaccinate, will generally remain the same because it won’t allow their need for certainty, or their belief system, to be tainted.
There are individuals whose beliefs concerning vaccines have changed, or those who look into the vaccine issue for the first time who may not have developed a strong belief system on the issue yet. Generally, individuals that change their beliefs do so because their original belief system tumbled and it no longer served them. This is often seen with parents of vaccine damaged children, or with new parents who are not willing to take the risk of vaccine damage. For them, the risks of vaccines outweigh the risk of illness. When new parents look at the issue with no preconceived belief system, they generally investigate both sides of the issue. Based on what they investigate, they will make their decision and thus form their belief system and their need for certainty.